Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wear Joaquin

You like fashion? You also like literature? Here's something that brings those two elements together.

Freeway honors Philippine National Artists by designing clothing collections that showcase the artists' works. The first set features Nick Joaquin. It's a scrumptious, artistic collection of t-shirts, blouses, jackets, and dresses.

I love the way the text takes as much space as the imagery. And if you're ever stuck in an elevator/waiting room/queue without a book, you can read your shirt.

Freeway does not seem to have a website, but google led me to this site that shows off the collection:

Gorgeous, huh? I know you want a piece of that.

It's a bummer though that I wasn't able to buy anything. I'm way off the size chart of Philippine apparel, so I was ready to go for a bag. But there's no bag; just a tiny kikay pouch. And really, my closet will vomit the kikay pouch if I attempt to add another to the 2 million I already have. I need something I can use, sling on my shoulder, and show off so people will say, "Wow, that's Nick Joaquin." And I will beam and carry a silly grin while thinking of myself as some kind of cool, nationalistic, literate dudette with socially-relevant fashion tastes.

Oh well, maybe I will come back to their stores one of these days to try on a men's shirt.

But for you, my lithe friends, I encourage you to check this out and get yourself a limited edition. Wear Joaquin. If you have 2 navels, now is the time to show them off. Let's support Freeway as they support our artists.

Up next for the holidays is a collection paying homage to Ang Kiukok. I can't even begin to articulate how excited I am about that collection as well, and it will break my materialistic, pa-cultured heart to leave empty handed, because here finally is my chance of having a bit of Ang Kiukok without having to pawn my husband.

Freeway people, make sure you include a tote or messenger bag for the Ang Kiukok set, okay? Read more!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Often, I find myself submerged in a thick plot, lost in the pages of a good book, deeply ensconced in an armchair and swept up in other worlds, embroiled in other people's stories. But this post is not about that. This post is about submerging the book.

Yes, dipping a book in water. Uhm, yes, liquid water.

I hear gasps and the gnashing of teeth.

Warning: The pictures that follow might cause shortness of breath, activation of tear ducts, and the rapid increase/decrease of blood pressure among my obsessive-compulsive, plastic-wrapping, book-loving friends.

Be assured, however, that no books were harmed in the filming of this blog.This is my totally waterproof book. Melcher Media's The Soothing Soak is a collection of poems, essays, and short stories by Pablo Neruda, AS Byatt, Diane Ackerman among others. It is meant to be read in the bathtub. But since we don't have a tub, this book is my spa book.

I've been wanting to have a book like this. Ever since I discovered the existence of waterproof books, I've been entering steam bath and sauna rooms with a profound sense of emptiness and longing, knowing that if I had such a book, I would read in joyous peace instead of boring myself in contrived zen.

One time back in the days when I didn't have this book, I tried going to the sauna with a regular book, the type with porous paper pages. I panicked when I saw the pages crinkling into little waves. In this mega-humid country of ours, water damaged books have the potential to attract molds and destroy your whole book collection. (There's that gasping and gnashing sound again.)

Gimongous thanks to my Chicago based sister-in-law, Ate Pat, I finally have this.

One weekend, I baptized (uhm, literally?) the book at The Spa in Jupiter. I tucked the book into my little pink spa bag and brought it with me to the wet floor.

I read poetry at the steam room.I felt a bit self conscious because there were 2 other girls in the room. And maybe they were thinking I was silly bringing a book in there. Or maybe they were envious. Because they had nothing to read. While I was unabashedly reading in the steam room, instead of watching my navel or doing nothing but grappling with my body issues and trying to cover up my cellulite. I was happy.

Then I moved into the Turkish pools. I love Turkish pools with the contrast hot and cold baths, except this time the hot part was not that hot, and the cold was not that cold. Normally, I would be a wee bit upset about such technical flaws, but this time I had my waterproof book, and I was a happy camper. I read a couple of short stories. I can hardly remember the content as I was just so thrilled at the experience of being able to do two favorite things at once -- reading and spa-ing. I enjoyed myself so much, I had to force myself to stop reading, pull myself out of the pool, and get on with my spa-ing.

Two drawbacks -- one is that you need to allocate more time before your massage. The other one is that even if it is waterproof, the pages do get wet and stay wet. So I had to wipe every page before I stored the book back into my spa bag. Spritzed it with Lysol. It's waterproof. I don't know if it's mold proof.

Aaah. I can't wait until my next spa visit and my next soothing soak. Read more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's On Your Desk Wednesday

A few Wednesdays ago, Blooey tagged me to participate in a blog meme that would shame me, my neat freak husband, and the mother who tried to teach me urbanity.

We're supposed to take pictures of our desk, and we're not supposed to tidy them up first to make them photo-pretty. Gasp!

This is for Sassy Brit's blog meme, What's On Your Desk Wednesday. The details and the instructions are all here.

I tried to ignore Blooey's tag. But what do you know -- it's Wednesday, and I'm too lazy to draft a book review or write a blog entry that makes sense. And I'm taking the easy but more embarrassing way out. So here, in all it's glorious chaos, is a picture of my desk. Click on the image for a closer, more embarrassing look. Hopefully, the dust bunnies don't show.
The rules say I shouldn't tidy up. I have to confess I tried to make it look a little presentable, but to no avail. It's a hopeless mess. It's the end of the term and there are tons of papers to be checked. It's also book sale season and well, you know how it is with book addicts who live in tiny laces -- a book shelving nightmare, the floor disappearing. Geez, what am I talking about? My desk looks like this the whole year round, so I'll shut up with the excuses.

But like they say, if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what does it mean if you have an empty desk?

Ooo, I almost forgot. I should tag 5 bloggers. So here are my victims:

  1. ArtSeblis
  2. Blurbologist
  3. Jo
  4. Fantaghiro
  5. Cubicle Dweller
Happy Wednesday, everyone! May the rest of the week be even better than the start. Read more!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Grandmothers by Doris Lessing

My interest in fiction has always been that of a reader. I've never dared to analyze the art and science of fiction. In my brief, limited, and safe writing career, I've focused on the known -- on the formulaic and not-too-demanding field of business writing.

But Doris Lessing has opened a dangerous, little porthole to wander in and wonder about that thing called fiction writing. Don't be alarmed. I linger far from the possibility of birthing a novel from the depths of my bowels; no, please, no. It's just that Lessing has made me wonder how one can write so tautly with no tinge of superfluity. How one can conjure images and flesh out ideas with language so well thought of. So intelligent. But raw with base human emotions. Who writes like that?

Lessing does. And I can only bite my lip in envy.

The Grandmothers is the carrier story in a collection of 4 short novels. That's probably the thing going against the book; the novels are too short. Each of them can be developed into full blown books that can eventually be developed into full blown major motion pictures. But that is the beauty of this book -- it gives you just enough to chew on, without overexplaining. The short story quality of it that leaves you a little bit unsatisfied reassures you that this book will not become all that popular and you're one of those lucky enough to be in on the secret.

The Grandmothers is an almost incestuous, but certainly scandalous, story of two women. Two golden, beautiful women who fall in love with their golden, beautiful selves. When their lives turn out to be less than the perfection they worked so hard to make it to be, they shut out the world, look within the pocket-sized, controllable world covered by their golden halo, and love only those who belong to that perfect circle -- each other's son. Golden, beautiful boys who fall in love with their older female mirrors too.

Lessing writes in a way that casts no judgment. The reader is left to make her own. To be mesmerized by such a fantastic premise, or to say ewww and be morally offended -- your choice. I felt a little bit of both. The story does not end well for the grandmothers and their sons. Which is probably well and good.

The second story, Victoria and the Staveneys, struck me as somewhat ordinary. But I suspect it is a limitation of my ability to understand the nuances more than a limitation of Lessing's storytelling. Somewhere in there are messages on race, tolerance, hypocrisy, poverty, privilege, socialism, communism, and all sorts if isms. They escape me at the moment. Okay, maybe a very long moment.

I am torn between the first and the third as my favorite of the collection. The Reason for It, classified by reviews as science fiction, is an all too real account of civilization. It is a story about the conflicts between new and old, between progress and tradition. The story is told from the perspective of the old and traditional who whines about a dying culture. And so if one were to take the side of the storyteller, one would ache at how the world has regressed instead of progressed. How art suffers and knowledge is mocked as the newfangled becomes the new standard of what is good, beautiful, and right. And culture disintegrates and society is transformed into a sad, shallow shadow (alliteration unintended) of its former glory.

This is probably the most preachy of the stories. It talks about the emptiness of beauty when it is unmatched, unsubstantiated by a fine nature and a good mind.

It is also the most thought provoking. I have visions of throwing this to my book club friends who would act like frenzied alligators at feeding time as they apply every nosebleed inducing framework to analyze this. Shhh, I won't tell them about it.

The collection ends with A Love Child. A bit predictable. On the side of sappy. And the most likely to be made into a movie starred by Ben Affleck. Which is not to say it is shallow because it is loaded with meaning and still beautifully written.

It's been months since I finished the book. And I'm now over the fiction-writing itch. But I'm not over Doris Lessing yet.

Read more!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I am Gege. And okay, I admit it now, I am addicted to books. And book buying. And my husband does not like it. But confessions are necessary. And therapeutic. So, I'm showing here the view from under my desk where the recent loot is in temporary confinement until my husband goes out to play golf. When I, away from his prying eyes and judging heart, can put them into their rightful alphabetical places.

Shhh, don't tell my husband. Read more!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Somebody Loves Me

Somebody from the US loves me and knows the stuff I love. Thank you. I'm going to enjoy all these goodies. Read more!